The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap

For fans of Disney’s Pollyanna who didn’t get enough of young actress Hayley Mills, there was a an easy fix – give her two roles in the next film. Up for the challenge, Mills delivered a delightful pair of performances as twin sisters, Susan and Sharon Mills in the beloved 1961 family classic, The Parent Trap.

Susan and Sharon, separated when they were very young, had no clue of the others existence until a fateful encounter while attending summer camp. They immediately noticed their resemblance and didn’t take kindly to each others presence, proceeding to wage war on their counterpart with various pranks, and eventually a brawl in the form of a food fight.

Trying to keep the peace, the camp counselors make to two spend the night each other in the hopes they will warm to each other. As a result, the girls discover that they share the same parents (Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara), who divorced shortly after their birth. With each wanting to meet their long-lost parent, they decide to switch identities. Susan heads to Boston to meet mom and Sharon to Los Angeles to see the dad she never knew.

At first the plan works well, until Sharon discovers that Pop is planning on tying the knot with Vicky Robinson, an obvious gold-digger. Alerting her sister to the crisis, Susan comes clean with mom and the pair head out on the next flight to California to try and put a stop to the ceremonies.

The parents aren’t exactly enamored to see each other and are ready to depart each others company almost immediately. The only hitch is that the girls, dressed identically, refuse to reveal their true identities, unless the whole family agrees to go on a camping trip together. It will take all of their combined wits and matchmaking skills to ensure that their family becomes whole again.

Considering the time of its release, it is remarkable how well Disney pulled off the split screen effect in The Parent Trap. Audiences absolutely adored the film and especially the precocious star, who would continue to make more films for Disney. Years later, an adult Mills would reprise her familiar role in a number of made-for-television sequels. A young Lindsay Lohan would take over the dueling roles in a 1998 remake of the film that did very well at the box office and put the young actress on the road to stardom.

Meanwhile, the original film is considered one the live-action Disney classics of the era. With a wonderful cast, terrific songs written by iconic Disney composers, the Sherman Brothers, and some innovative camera work, The Parent Trap still delights fans old and new with its charming story.

If you remember watching this classic Disney film in your youth, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts on The Parent Trap with all of us in our comments section below.

One Response to “The Parent Trap”

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  1. Gina says:

    I never saw any of the films, but I did read a Scholastic novelization of the original movie.

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